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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Gougane Barra

Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)

NOT beauty which men gaze on with a smile,

Not grace that wins, no charm of form or love,

Dwelt with that scene. Sternly upon my view

And slowly—as the shrouding clouds awhile

Disclosed the beetling crag and lonely isle—

From their dim lake the ghostly mountains grew,

Lit by one slanting ray. An eagle flew

From out the gloomy gulf of the defile,

Like some bad spirit from Hades. To the shore

Dark waters rolled, slow-heaving, with dull moan;

The foam-flakes hanging from each livid stone

Like froth on deathful lips; pale mosses o’er

The shattered cell crept, as an orphan lone

Clasps his cold mother’s breast when life is gone.